On the corner of historic St. John’s Square in London’s Clerkenwell, a must-go neighborhood for any foodie or design lover, stands a beautiful and inviting yellow brick building with large windows facing two directions. A year ago you wouldn’t have thought there was much hope for this house — it used to be a rundown stationers and really wasn’t much to look at. The facade was dirty and dark, and all original features inside were hidden behind metal racks and reams of paper. Despite its tatty appearance, the talented team at British kitchen design company deVOL immediately knew that this house was a diamond in the rough.
Thanks to the instant success of deVOL’s first London shop just half a mile away, it had quickly become clear that one showroom couldn’t keep up with the amount of customers waiting for design appointments. Because of the high demand for beautiful kitchens, it wasn’t long before deVOL took the plunge and bought the entire building in St. John’s Square, with the intention to bring it back to its former glory. “As we explored not only the shop but the house above, we just thought it would be a fantastic place to display our kitchens and all the other amazing stuff we make and sell. From the derelict basement right up four stories to the roof garden with views of this historic square and beyond to St.Pauls, it was just an untouched, original property full of charm, character and history,” says Helen Parker, Creative Director at deVOL.
deVOL’s trusted builders quickly got to work, transforming the ground and lower ground floors into a showroom and design offices. The renovation took six months, and throughout the process the team wanted to make sure that they kept every possible original detail. The outside of the building was painted and cleaned brick by brick, and during each new stage of the renovation, the beauty of the old building became more and more apparent. “One of my favorite triumphs was getting the OK by listed buildings to replace the dingy shop loo roof with a glass one; it has completely transformed the feel of the shop and allowed us to create a light and bright and very useful pantry and new smart customer loo,” Helen explains.
When designing the showroom, Helen was inspired by the history and architectural details of the house. She also had an overriding desire to create something different from deVOL’s other spaces, introduce some new colors and be a little more daring. To achieve an English Eccentric feel, Helen chose deVOL’s Classic English furniture as the main feature. “This Georgian bespoke furniture is perfect for this type of building, large well-proportioned cupboards that have a substantial and classic elegance,” she says.
deVOL’s stunning new ground floor showroom at St. John’s Square opened up to customers this February. Walking into this unique showroom feels more like walking into someone’s kitchen and home, which is exactly what was intended. The space is authentic and comfortable, like it’s always been an integral part of the house. Customers are greeted by a beautiful mix of rich colors and textures; original wood floors, emerald green tiles, dusty pink walls and a large kitchen island usher visitors into deVOL’s world right at the door. It’s clear that the team at deVOL has great respect for history, functionality and beautiful aesthetics, and incorporates this into their kitchen designs in unconventional ways.
Eventually deVOL will be opening up the rest of the townhouse to customers, too. Although the upstairs rooms aren’t decorated yet, the showroom team is happy to take visitors up to the roof garden for a look over London. “We have a long way to go with the house but it’s exciting for me, I have a whole East End house to decorate and style, so my head is full of ideas every minute of every day,” Helen shares.
Photography by deVOL Kitchens
Image above: deVOL’s St. John’s Square showroom in London exudes an air of history and warmth. Various colors and textures create an authentic feel with layers of interest. “When I started, we had a small office in a little shop with three other people and I designed kitchens with paper and a pencil […] Things just keep growing for deVOL, and our decision to open premises in London has really accelerated the growth — it’s such an exciting place to have a showroom and we have fallen in love with our new home in East London,” Helen Parker, Creative Director at deVOL shares.